Mesquite hit the highest number of visitors in calendar year 2015 than it has since the Great Recession started in 2008. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) report closing out the year in December, 1.208 million people came to town throughout the year. That’s a rise of 4.1 percent from calendar year 2014 and 242,210 less than 2008’s count. 

Even though the count just for the last month was 77,111 and the lowest number over the 12 month period, it was still 3.2 percent above December 2014.  

Since hitting its lowest annual count in 2010 with 995,120 visitors, the numbers have steadily climbed. It’s interesting to note that when the count hit 1.450 million in 2008, there were four casinos operating in Mesquite with 2,706 hotel rooms available.

When the Oasis Casino Resort closed in December 2008, the number of hotel rooms dropped to 1,981 and further declined over time to this year’s ending low of 1,712. Most likely that number will stagnate until the Rising Star Sports Ranch opens in December with just over 200 rooms.  

Total occupancy for December rose1.3 percent from a year ago to 56.1 percent. It was up 2 percent for the year at 74.3 percent. While the average daily room rate for December dropped a miniscule -0.3 percent to $51.01 it increased for the year by 3.7 percent to $55.61.  

Revenue per available room (RevPAR) did better rising 2.1 percent in December from a year ago to $28.62. For the calendar year RevPAR rose 6.5 percent to $41.35. The increase bodes well for local establishments as it’s used to measure the financial performance of and health among hotel operators. RevPar only measures revenue from hotel room rates and does not include other sources of revenue like alcohol sales or gaming. 

Total room nights occupied for December rose 1.0 percent from last year to 29,773 and finished out the calendar rising 1.8 percent from 2014 hitting a total of 466,463. 

Gaming operators are dreaming of pre-recession levels in gross gaming revenues that hit $143.961 million in 2008 but the last six years have been closer to a nightmare. Mesquite’s gaming revenues came in at $114.092 million for 2015, a slight 0.9 percent increase from 2014. December’s revenues dropped from 2014 measuring $9.373 million for a 2.9 percent decrease.  

Average daily auto traffic on I-15 at the Nevada Arizona border continued it’s steady climb reaching 24,587 average for the year. That’s a 7.8 percent increase from 2014. In December 22,945 vehicles crossed the border for a 5.8 percent rise from last year.  

For the calendar year 2015 overall, seven of eight categories in the LVCVA visitor report showed percentage increases with only room inventories dropping into the red. 

Comparatively speaking, Laughlin didn’t fare as well. Of the nine categories included in its report for calendar year 2015, four of them hit the red including visitor volume, room inventory, total room nights occupied and plane passengers. Gross gaming revenues for the year increased 1.7 percent from 2014 coming in at $467.276 million.  

December’s gross gaming revenues in Laughlin took a tumble falling 13.9 percent from December 2014. Also dropping in the December-to-December comparison were six other categories of the total nine tracked by LVCVA: visitor volume (-5.6 percent), room inventory (-2.4 percent), total occupancy (-1.6 percent), RevPAR (-0.3 percent), total room nights occupied (-5.8 percent) and plane passengers (-21.4 percent). Only two categories, average daily room rate and average daily auto traffic, increased 3.3 percent and 4.3 percent respectively. 

The LVCVA reported a 3.7 percent improvement in December’s total gross gaming revenues for all of Clark County. The Las Vegas Strip showed an increase of 8.2 percent and downtown rose a slight 1.1 percent. The Boulder Strip dropped a whopping 15.0 percent percent.

Total Las Vegas Visitor Volumes in December increased 3.5 percent to 3.2 million people. Average daily auto traffic on all major highways in the Las Vegas metropolitan area increased 5.7 percent with a 2.6 percent increase on I-15 at the Nevada California border.

“Driven by strong demand in both the leisure and conventions segments, Las Vegas enjoyed record-breaking visitation in 2015, surpassing 42.3 million visitors, +2.9 percent over 2014,” according to the LVCVA report.